The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, January 24, 2022 comes to us from Josey McChesney of Missouri
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:14-22 NIV
“A Place for Us”
For most of my life, I have struggled with anxiety. I pile up stresses for myself, and I think of life like I’m running a race with a goal of winning something – good grades, athletic achievement, or being the best at my favorite activities. In high school, one such goal was to fit in. This goal turned out to be unachievable for several reasons. My limited finances, transportation, and dislike of texting conversations made me unfit to join the group I wanted to be a part of.
At the time I didn’t recognize that even though I struggled to fit in in high school, I was already included in an even more important group: God’s family. This family did not have earthly requirements like the group in high school. This family only needed my love, faith, and belief in the greatest good of all. It does not matter to God where we are from, how much money we have, or if our life is perfect in the world’s eyes. God cares and has a place for every one of us. This promise gives me comfort and a new appreciation for my wonderfully unique and diverse family.
As I have shared before, I also struggled to fit in in high school, but I was fortunate to be a part of the youth group at the United Methodist Church in our city. Although the environment wasn’t perfect in what was then MYF, the kids and adults in that group were mostly loving and affirming. That community helped all of us to experience God’s unconditional loving grace. Their support and inclusiveness really did helped me make it through high school, and I am grateful.
Dear God, help us to realize that we are your family and that is what matters most. Amen.
People struggling with Anxiety
Thought for the Day:
I always fit in because I am part of God’s loving family.
See what love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1 (NIV)